Barbara Bender, Sue Hamilton, Christopher Tilley

Adapted for the internet by Paul Basu



This paper considers what conceptual links might be made between producing installation art works in the present and the understanding and interpretation of prehistoric life-worlds. In it we consider connections between the work of contemporary 'landscape', 'environmental'. or 'ecological' artists and an on-going landscape archaeology project centered on Leskernick Hill, Bodmin Moor in the south-west of England. We argue that the production of art works in the present provides much more than a contemporary cultural work. It permits us to actively engage with the past in a new manner and acts as a powerful and empowering means of interpreting the past in the present. Both the practices of interpreting the past and producing art result in the production of something new transforming our understanding of place and space resulting in the creation of new meaning. Art and archaeology can act together dialectically to produce a novel conceptualisation of the past that can appeal to different audiences in different ways and produce a means of relating to the past that is considerably more than the sum of its component parts.